Kuchar ends four year drought at Mayakoba Classic
American Matt Kuchar ended more than four years without a PGA Tour victory on Sunday by closing with a 2-under 69 to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic by one stroke over New Zealand’s Danny Lee.
With the win, Kuchar earned a spot in a handful of prestigious tournaments, first on the calendar being the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January. Kuchar’s win will also bring some excitement heading into this week’s Australian Open in Sydney with the American a draw card for tournament promotors.
“It feels extra sweet having kind of had to suffer through a year of not playing great in 2018,” said Kuchar, whose last victory came at the 2014 RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“Being four years removed since my last victory I realise how difficult it is to win on the PGA Tour.”
Although going into Sunday with a four-shot lead and opening strongly, Kuchar bogeyed the 14th and 15th holes, missing putts inside 3 metres, respectively, to give Lee the chance to move. Solid golf prevailed as Kuchar closed with three pars, which was enough to secure victory. Lee finished with two pars for a 65.
Matt Kuchar (Credit: PGA Tour)
“I certainly made it exciting coming in,” said Kuchar, who moves to fifth in the FedExCup. “It wasn’t the finish I was hoping for; I would have liked to have been able to five- or six-putt that final green.”
The 40-year-old had gone 115 starts on the PGA Tour since his previous win. Last year Kuchar finished out of the top-70 on the PGA Tour money list for the first time since 2007, and he failed to make the Ryder Cup team for the first time in 10 years.
“I aspire to make Presidents Cup, I aspire to make the TOUR Championship, I aspire to win multiple times in the 2018-19 season,” said Kuchar.
“A major’s still on my list. Those are all goals for me and I think this will help leapfrog that. That confidence from winning a tournament hopefully propels me to a great 2019.”
Coming into the tournament Kuchar had only four top-10′s, his best finish was a tie for fifth in Phoenix and he was coming off the back of a tie for 57th in Las Vegas. Sunday’s victory was his 8th since joining the PGA Tour in 2001.
While Kuchar may not have a trophy cabinet the size of some of golf’s biggest names it hasn’t stopped him from making a very good living from the game. Sunday’s victory took his PGA Tour win total past the US$45 million mark ($45,019,237) making him just the 10th player in history to ever achieve that feat.
The 28-year-old Lee began the day tied for third, five shots behind Kuchar and his final round included seven birdies – four on the front nine – and a bogey on the 15th. It is the Kiwi’s second-place finish this season and sees him leap into 10th place on the FedExCup ladder.
Cameron Davis was the best of the Australians finishing in a tie for 48th position with rounds of 68-68-72-68 followed by Matt Jones who was in 71st position. Curtis Luck failed to make the cut firing rounds of 74-73.